Safeguarding the Wired Schoolhouse
Home
What's New
Publications & Tools
Checklist for Decision-Making
Other Resources
Contact Us

Promoting Online Safety: The Home-School Partnership


Brought to you by CoSN


White Paper Provides Guidance to Help Protect Students When They Go Online

Two weeks ago CoSN released a new initiative entitled "Safeguarding the Wired Schoolhouse". Below is just one of the recent articles on this important new resource for schools. Encourage your colleagues to use this great new reference site.

Reprinted with permission

Education Technology News

A new white paper from the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) offers schools a look at the pluses and minuses of a variety of ways of protecting students online.

Safeguarding the Wired Schoolhouse: A Briefing Paper on School District Options for Providing Access to Appropriate Internet Content is available on the Web site, www.safewiredschools.org.

"This is to give school district folks the right tools they need to make decisions about protecting students," Keith Krueger, executive director of CoSN said. He noted that CoSN's official position opposes federally mandated filtering, but said the report fairly presents each option. The group supports local decisions to filter.

According to the report, 60 percent of schools have chosen to use filtering software. Sara Fitzgerald, who headed up the project, which involved writing the report and creating the Web site, said the project is modeled after CoSN's Total Cost of Ownership project. In that, the goal was to give educators a look at critical issues when budgeting for technology. This report focuses on critical issues in student online safety.

"The paper provides management options," she said. "It looks at the history of controls, details your options, provides a checklist for decision makers and resources for further consideration."

The report tries to give a good overview of all the issues. However, because it is online, the report is expected to keep growing, Fitzgerald said. For example, the report has a brief section on choosing the option of monitoring student use. However, a new legal battle may throw a monkey wrench into the idea of monitoring, Fitzgerald told ETN. Under federal law, schools may be forced to provide to parents any such monitoring records they keep on students, no matter how time-consuming, costly or otherwise onerous a task.

"It was so new when we were writing the report, there wasn't time to get it in," she confided. "But we plan to follow that issue, and update the Web site as it develops." (See the ETN special section directly following this issue for more information on legal matters like this one.) Contact: CoSN, (202) 466-6296, www.cosn.org.

2006 Consortium for School Networking. All rights reserved.